Over the last few months, LeBron James has been like a tornado of bad news for anyone and anything he touches. First, he cemented his legacy as the single biggest hometown villain in the history of sports (until someone else comes along to disappoint Cleveland, you know it’ll happen) by opting to sign with the Miami Heat. Then, he cost ESPN what little credibility it had amongst fans as a genuine, unbiased source for sports news. Now, in his latest contribution to society, he is the reason that 30 Heat sales people were fired last Friday.
According to the Miami Herald, after James announced that he was joining the Heat, the team sold out its season tickets for the 2010-11 year. Unfortunately, that proved to be bad news for the staff responsible for selling season tickets, as they ended up being fired.
``Now that the supply for [season tickets] has been exhausted we no longer require a season ticket sales team,'' the Heat said in a brief statement Friday afternoon.
According to Heat spokeswoman, Lorrie-Ann Diaz, the staff was originally very busy when James made his announcement.
``Our sales reps were manning the phones around the clock,'' Diaz wrote. ``We couldn't get them to go home! There was very little inventory remaining once LeBron officially made his decision. And we sold out of that, as well, in record time.''
And as a reward for a job well done, the staffers were later fired.
Prior to this season, particularly during the team’s 2007 campaign when the Heat were the worst team in basketball, the sales staff had the nearly-impossible job of pushing seats for a team with seemingly no future. Now, with James’ arrival, their jobs got much easier. Too much easier.
Ayeh Ahong, a partner at the Tickets of America brokerage in Miami, told the Miami Herald that opening game seats were selling for about $250 per ticket. Usually, Heat season tickets are sold for $30 up in the nosebleeds and for as much as $2,300 courtside.
``They're probably the hottest tickets in the country,” Ashong told the paper.
The Heat issued the following statement regarding the matter:
``While the decision to release part of our sales force was a difficult one, we greatly appreciate their contributions to the company. We have also hired a placement service to assist those individuals find new employment. Should any season tickets become available, they will be handled through our season ticket deposit program. We thank those employees for their time with the company and wish them success in their future endeavors.''
On the bright side, if the possibility of winning a championship is the main driving force behind selling out your season tickets, the ticket-sales staffs of the Miami Dolphins and Florida Marlins have more job security than anyone in the country.